Polyphonic Spree Review: 'Yes It's True' Is the Happiest Album of the Year

Slip out of consciousness and into a deep, euphoric sleep. Crack your eyes open and see a wide, verdant field occupied by trees, their leaves fluttering in a gentle wind. A group of bunny rabbits are palling around, chasing each other’s tails and making cute, small animal noises. Mystical pixies offer you a chalice of water, which tastes like sweet nectar hand-churned by Mother Nature herself. Worry has no place here. 

At the top of the hill behind you, a band plays. That band is the only one worthy of such a sunshiny venue: the Polyphonic Spree.


Musically, front man Tim DeLaughter and his 20-or-so bandmates have reached mythical levels of happiness. Their signature song, "Light & Day," sends flowers into bloom and parts clouds to make room for sun. With Yes, It’s True, the band's first new, non-Christmas album since 2007 (and first ever Kickstarter-funded effort), the Spree’s blazing beacon of positivity is shining as brightly as it ever has, but with a new edge that is more clearly defined.

The Polyphonic Spree's first three records comprise a multi-album-concept-opus-thing (the tracks are titled "Section 1" through "Section 32"), but Yes, It’s True escapes the bounds of that structure; each of its songs has a full title. It makes sense. In terms of both time and sound, this album is separate from the band's previous work.

While the Polyphonic Spree are essentially a flower-power cult of white-robed musicians who radiate absolute, ambient joy, the opening track, “You Don’t Know Me” (video above),  kicks off the record with a sense of propulsion that isn’t necessarily missing from the group’s catalog, but has never been as obvious as it is here.

At times, the Spree are reminiscent of Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips, an optimistic and out-there group whose output is both instantly digestible and deliciously boundary-pushing. Even DeLaughter’s vocals are eerily reminiscent of Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne’s gentle-yet-powerful singing. That’s not to say that the Polyphonic Spree has abandoned their robes to battle evil-natured robots. The symphonic group vocals and idiosyncratic lighthearted cheer haven’t gone anywhere.

The Flaming Lips comparison is also a testament to the Polyphonic Spree’s ability to expand their musical identity while not abandoning their philosophy: they’re still here to take everybody to the ninth cloud of seventh heaven. Lay back, open your eyes, and have a look at the beautiful dream DeLaughter and company have crafted.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Derrick Rossignol

Derrick is a freelance writer who's mused about music, basketball, and whatever for Diffuser, Pretty Much Amazing, Dime and other places. He hosts "The Longest Album Review Podcast," in which he reviews the same Nickeback album every week because he likes a good challenge. Reach out at derrickrossignol.com.

MORE FROM

Why Halle Berry believes her Oscar win "meant nothing" to diversity in Hollywood

Here is how the actress is getting involved to bring more diversity to Hollywood.

The 'Pretty Little Liars' series finale tackled fertility and it was the realest the show ever got

British evil twin aside, the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale dealt with a serious issue in a sober way.

'Baby Driver' reviews: Critics are in love with Edgar Wright's latest high-octane film

'Baby Driver' is being called one of the summer's best films.

'America's Got Talent' contestant Johnny Manuel dominates Whitney Houston ballad

The Flint, Michigan, native missed a shot at a music career in his teens. Now he wants a second chance.

How much money does the winner of 'Big Brother' season 19 get?

After battling it out all summer, the winner of 'Big Brother' gets a big payout.

'Game of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke filmed more in Belfast. What does that mean for Daenerys?

Many of the series' interior shots are filmed at Titanic Studios in Belfast.

Why Halle Berry believes her Oscar win "meant nothing" to diversity in Hollywood

Here is how the actress is getting involved to bring more diversity to Hollywood.

The 'Pretty Little Liars' series finale tackled fertility and it was the realest the show ever got

British evil twin aside, the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale dealt with a serious issue in a sober way.

'Baby Driver' reviews: Critics are in love with Edgar Wright's latest high-octane film

'Baby Driver' is being called one of the summer's best films.

'America's Got Talent' contestant Johnny Manuel dominates Whitney Houston ballad

The Flint, Michigan, native missed a shot at a music career in his teens. Now he wants a second chance.

How much money does the winner of 'Big Brother' season 19 get?

After battling it out all summer, the winner of 'Big Brother' gets a big payout.

'Game of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke filmed more in Belfast. What does that mean for Daenerys?

Many of the series' interior shots are filmed at Titanic Studios in Belfast.